These days it seems that every time we turn around there is another new moniker in wine growing: natural, low intervention, minimal intervention, conventional, sustainable, the list goes on and on. One of the biggest issues with all of these is there doesn’t seem to be a definition that allows for a clear understanding as to what any of these labels mean. So rather than wade into the muck of trying to take one of these monikers and force our own interpretation on it or worse, just use one and let folks make their own assumptions, we’ve instead decided to define our approach to winegrowing. We’re simply referring to it as thoughtful winegrowing.
In the early 2000s, growers and makers saw much of the wine world veering towards ambitions to manipulate wine in order to appease wine critics with very specific taste and style. Gone was the uniqueness of each parcel. The flavors of the wine and regions individuality were chiseled away until what was left resembled a rough carbon copy of a wine from the other side of the world. Even worse, they were doing so without being upfront with consumers about all the manipulations, additions and other winemaking tricks. A few saw this and went the other way, choosing to embrace what made their wines unique.
Ultimately this approach would evolve into today’s natural wine movement. As fashion tends to do, this approach was soon ‘discovered’ and very quickly became a trend and then a category all itself. As with all trends, folks began to jump on the bandwagon and implement all the buzzwords currently found in natural, much like the original 2000s trend of big flavor and alcohol. These wines soon carried with them overwhelming flavor profiles masking that same uniqueness of place that was similarly lost in the big flavor and alcohol days. Over-use of things like carbonic maceration are no different than 100% new oak. And even worse the trend has now led to the caricatures and opportunists under the banner of ‘clean’ wine.
So here we are again, our hope is to seek a balance in both our wines and in our approach. We have little interest in dogmas that preclude the thoughtful use of science and technology, but we do hold a reverence in how simple winemaking can be and has been for millennia. We don’t believe in rules that limit the grower’s practices that require excess amounts of diesel, broad spectrum sprays or that eschew the soundness of a wine for the sake of reaching some natural wine nirvana. Ulimately, it all starts and ends with transparency. Transparency in our practices, transparency for the sake of celebrating terroir, transparency so we can finally talk less about how the wine is made and more about the wine itself.
Our goal is to make wine that is truly unique, delicious to drink, that showcases its place and that moves past the fear mongering of sound cellar and vineyard practices used in thoughtful transparent moderation.
There are natural wines that we absolutely love, that inspire us.
We’ve just found that the label no longer has any meaning to us, the name has been weaponized by some to mean faulty wine, and even worse for some, it gives the impression that ANY winemaking adjustments result in a wine that is no longer natural or, unfortunately to some people, unhealthy (ignoring the fact that alcohol is still the most dangerous element contained in even the most conventionally made wines). We believe a rebalance needs to happen. Yet doing so under the banner of natural wine would be futile, because it has become so co-opted, it no longer holds meaning. That said, this approach isn’t an excuse for lazy winemaking or a cover while forcing a wine into something that it is not. Much of this approach already exists. Some of the most heralded winegrowers follow these principles, going even further some producers are making their ingredients available to consumers right on the label.
Ultimately more transparency is taking place, something we absolutely celebrate. We think this is the logical next step for us.